Will see. I have my bets on gt8 ending in 30+-10 turns
Gt9 indeed will be random game after some absence of such games.
gt10 hex most likelly will not start before the end of aprill so for all we know gt9 can be ended by that time (hehe not likely if my feeling is right and starts align properly I think it is likely that gt9 will be loong game, at least for some players:) )
Africa is made from squares no one is going to change that. Hexes are underepresented so I see no reason not to try them once in a while.
I myself find scenarios rather very annoying, but seems that a lot of gt players like them (for what reasons I can not fathom), and thus majority of games seem to be going to scenerios, so I see nothing wrong with having some balance with random map hex game